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Welcome to the Chucks Anime Shrine Blog. Here you can find info on Anime Series, Anime Figures, manga and other Japan/anime related items.

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    This site, Chuck's Anime Shrine was posting AMVs (and hosting them) as far back as late 2002, 3 years before YouTube even I think I deserve this one, lol XD

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     This week's Moe Monday image is this beautiful illustration of the mechanical maiden Labrys from the Persona series.  Her color pallet and personality somewhat resembles our mascot Fumi in her human form... of course Labrys isn't exactly human ^^;;

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    With only two episodes supposedly left in the Sword Art Online anime, Good Smile Company last night announced the figure we knew was in production, the Nendoroid Kirito Figure.  GSC doesn't fail to impress with this new figure pre-order announcement.  Kirito looks really well designed, matching him perfectly (well, in chibi form).   A wonderful complement to the really cute Asuna Nendoroid (that I'm going to collect too ^^).  Thought Kirito's announcement would make a perfect restart for my figure blog posts and to also announce that my store is back in gear and…if you might have seen on the front page, loaded with a bunch of new figure pre-orders ^^

    As for Kirito, he's scheduled to be released in Japan in May 2013…but the US release tends to be 1-2 months after (-_-) if there isn't any delays on the Japan release.   Check out more images below.

    Note to my pending figure customers:

    Just wanted to also let my anime figure customers patiently waiting to know that your figures are on the way.  I was, as stated in my emails, notified by my suppliers of a number of figure releases here in the states but the financial burdens brought about by Hurricane Sandy has added additional delays in addition to the typical delays us US anime figure collectors get from the suppliers.  I felt a bit guilty putting up a bunch of figure pre-orders when of course there's been a month+ of "hey, your figure's coming."  Just wanted to know, they are…just waiting for to release the figures I emailed you all about.  I was told a number of times I'd get a final invoice but due to the holiday season making them busy and a bit of payment delays on my end from recovering from Hurricane Sandy… they still have yet to send the latest batch ^^;; .. this will be changing this week though as everything on my end is set…but due to the holiday rush, has been inundated with shipments and I'm on the bottom of their list at the moment it seems  ^^';;.

    I want this post and the recent surge of figure pre-orders on the store page to let you all know, in short, business is back in gear and after this delayed batch…the only delays in the future will be due to the suppliers & manufacturers directly.  The past two months were tough due to the storm but it's all coming back ^^

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     Another week, another Fan Service Friday.  Being it's already 12/15... about time I show some cute anime girls showing the x-mas spirit.  Sadly, I don't know the artist of this piece but if you know you can write the link down below in the comments and I'll make sure to link back to the creator.

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  • 12/17/12--09:26: #MoeMonday: 12/17/2012
  • #MoeMonday
      For this week's MoeMonday... check out this wonderful sword maiden image I found skimming through my G+ feeds.  Not sure if this is an original image or from a girl in a series ^^;; but it caught my eyes with it's fiery red with blue color scheme and, one of my favorite artistic methods, the bold black stroke edges seen on her clothing.  Know the artist or the character?  post in the comments below.

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    Today the "final"* episode of Sword Art Online airs on Crunchyroll. Thought I'd come out of my little flu-induced hiatus from the week and celebrate the airing of this episode by going into another long scientific rant about the possibilities of technologies in an anime coming to life in the real world.  You can read a similar type of post I made concerning TTGL and how it's story and concepts actually do link up to real paradigms in Quantum and Theoretical Physics.  This time though, it's time to ask the question many of us wonder about  with both Sword Art Online and Accel World.... can this really become the future of gaming?

    *(There's actually two more arcs in the ongoing story but as for this first season of the anime...this is the final episode.. concluding the 2nd arch.  We of course hope the next 2 archs get animated..and by the popularity of SAO...chances are, it will)

    I've probably said this ad nauseum but to give people a bit of my background (and hopefully some validity in my understanding of said medium), I've been a gamer since just before I was 2 years old way back in 1985.  My first video game system was the Atari 2600, seen here in a recent photo I took while sorting my old systems...

    It was given to me during the summer of 1985 as my father noticed I would constantly play with the VCR.  I didn't just mindlessly toy with the thing though, I used to actually program the clock and understand what was going on with the much so that little 1 1/2 year old me was teaching my mom how use it.  Thing was, I was fascinated by the TV but I wanted control over it.  The VCR was the start of that but the moment I first played Pac Man Jr. (my very first video game), I felt like I had more control on what was on the TV.  That was the spark that kept me a gamer even to this day..and as one would imagine, it's why I ended up becoming a computer scientist with my main goal in CS (though actually shunned by CS professors in the early 2000s) to design video games.  As another little tidbit, my birthday is November 8 and the first week in November is considered the video game focal point when the best titles for the year get released.  so, goes to say, gaming is in my blood.

    I've seen the evolution of gaming from it's commercial beginnings.  Video games actually originated a few miles from me over at Brookhaven Labs in 1958 with their Tennis For Two machine.  Later on there was Computer Space and of course the game that got the ball rolling... Pong.  The year I was born, 1983 was actually the year people thought the new video game industry was done for good.  Arcades were losing popularity and corporate greed lead by Warner Bros. and their take over of Atari proved what happens when you bring suits in to do a visionary's job.  This is of course in reference to the messup that was the E.T video game launch.  To this day there is a stigma to video games based off movies and other non-game originating licences .. and for good reason; most don't do well and are usually known as shovelware thanks in part to the greed for selling a popular licence as oppose to understanding the medium and audience of which the product is for.  I can remember seeing the actual display for the E.T game but by 1985 it was in a local place called Cheap Johns in my home town of Selden (today it's the Selden Thrift) .  My mom got me the game that day and to this day I hold a piece of video game history... the game that almost ended video games for good.   If it wasn't for Nintendo and everyone's favorite plumber...the video games would have never came out from the ashes.

    So, I've seen a good chunk of what video games have evolved into.  From Pac Man Jr. to my newest game, Dishonored... it's absolutely amazing how far the graphics have gone in roughly 30 years.  So, how does this tie into Sword Art Online? Well, the premise of Sword Art Online is that it's  November 6th 2022 and the biggest game release in Japan is a new MMORPG (see WoW, etc) called Sword Art Online.  Being this is the hypothetical future, it's not just a game with motion controllers, a WII U-like pad, etc.  Nope, it's a VRMMORPG;  A fully immersive virtual reality online RPG ran on a future VR helmet known as Nerve Gear.  In short, it puts the user in a "dream" state and the player can interact entirely in this game as if the body of the character in the game is their own.

    Essentially SAO represents the ultimate goal of video games.  In reality, we are on the cusp of reaching the first "goal" of video games... the ability to create graphics that 100% mimic the real world.  Look at new titles  like Farcry 3 and (though I know hard core gamers will hate me saying this) Black Ops 2 and you will see the line getting thinner and thinner.  Of course, as a gamer and game dev, graphics aren't everything so it's not a true "goal" of gaming so to say but a threshold many studios are very close to eventually breaking through.  With the Wii U now out, soon we'll see Microsoft and Sony take their swing at this decade's new gaming hardware. Square Enix already showed off a tech demo using the PS4's hardware (known right now as "Orbis")

    We are about one or two more next gen systems away from having graphics that can 100% mimic (or surpass) reality.  Again, if graphics are your main focus... you are at the shallow end of the dream pool.  Since 2006, the Nintendo Wii has proven that immersion and control schemes are also a big part of making a great game.  Mobile games on the iPhone, iPads, Android phones, Windows phones and more recently, Windows 8 devices are gaining ground due to their unique touch/accelerometer control schemes.  Xbox has their Kinect and Sony has the seemingly dragging Sony Move devices to compete with the quickly evolving gaming scene.

    Long before all of these recent paradigms in control, there was the virtual reality headset...which, like 3D in general, has been an on and off gimmick.  SAO tries to show a VR headset, the Nerve Gear done "right".  Without getting into the possibility of a thought-driven virtual world (yet)...some reasons why VR headsets  never really taken off is due to a couple of issues, particularly, frame-rate and eye strain.

    As a game programmer, heck as a programmer in general, the goal is to create organized and fast code.  Video games and astrophysics simulations have been the driving forces for faster computers, faster graphics cards and overall quicker GUI.  Proof can bee seen in the recently announced supercomputer, Titan.   One of the main bullet points of game design is to have your game run at 60 frames per second.  Every game cycle/tick needs not be hampered by slow code or slow hardware.  This was one of the hurtles for Java before Android came to be.  I remember Java in the early 2000's just being a terrible coding language for games and other graphically heavy applications due to it's garbage collection functions and lack of real pointers.  Back then you were told to learn programming by Java...but make applications/games using C++ since the code was much faster.  Things have changed and as anyone knows, under the hood of Android is Java.  Virtual reality headsets have to update a 360 degree 3D environment in real time...which, as one can imagine, is a touch balance between graphical and processing power.  Having lag while in a 3D headset can cause a number of issues like eye strain, nausea and of course, a lack of immersion. Only recently have we being seeing any progress in that technology with the promising Oculus Rift.

    Again, you might wonder.."Ok where's the connection to Sword Art Online?".  Well, as one can see, Reki Kawahara's vision for this series (and Accel World) delves into what will happen after we have graphics that mimic the real world and after all of the different controls schemes have reached their maturity.  If the connectivity of the Internet in just the past 5 years is of any hint...this future gaming world can, though a stretch be a possibility.  I doubt we will make it this far ten years from now in 2022 but we are already on a path to it if you observe the number of gaming and non gaming technologies that can be brought together in the future.

    First off, let's list what we need to create a SAO world...ignore for now the main conflict (in the first story arch) where people won't be able to log off and their deaths i the game can kill them in the real world.

    Here's whats needed:

    1. Graphics and frame-rates that mimic the real world
    2. A computer system able to handle the slew of data from not just one immersed player, but tens of thousands of online players.
    3. A VR headset that puts the body in a REM state and that is able to portray the players "dream" moments with the game's code.
    This is granted, a truncated list but covers the main points.  As I layed out in my rant above, 1) and 2) are basically current technology.  In one or two more next gen (and PC) releases... 1 will be accomplished and we already have a number of extremely robust MMORPG communities that fit in line with #2.  Point #3 is the big hurtle and for point #2 to handle the data from #3...for even one player..then that's where we get beyond today's technology...or is it?

    I'll break down point #3 some more:

    • 3a: Create a device that can read our thoughts
    • 3b: Keep us in a REM state when needed and out of it when we need to log out
    • 3c: Utilize and somewhat control the diverse thoughts of REM sleep and turn it into code for the game
    Amazingly, we already have devices and game controllers now that do point #3a.  Granted, these are still very basic receiving devices as they only capture a broad array of our thoughts and mash the overall feedback to a simple command (still astonishing nonetheless) . As the the technology progresses, I'd imagine that the commands will become more specific as we are continuing to reverse engineer the human brain.  

    Here's some promising progress to getting the exact commands our brains are sending... just recently,   scientists at the University of California, Berkeley created a map of how our brain organizes different thoughts

    A future real life SAO programmer could very well make use of this map to command map the different functions for the game.   In essence, it's not much different than mapping the button controls on a current controller (granted if we can fully tap these branches of the brain and know 100% of the time).  

    On of the other hurtles is the data collection size.  The more we delve into the brain, the more data it'll take to decrypt the specific message our brain is sending.  Remember, our brain is a complex and extremely fast biological computer with trillions of calculations per second.  It's also thought that the brain might even be a bit of a quantum computer at times...granted, that's probably a bit far fetched yet quantum computers are the next step in computing.   A quantum computer would be more than enough to handle the thoughts of thousands of online real-life SAO players in real time thanks to the odd realities of the quantum world.

    The last hurtle is the crux of the struggle in Sword Art Online.... the Nerve Gear (and the later iterations of in in ALO, etc).  In SAO, microwaves and lasers in the Nerve Gear are what control the player's physical state.. and thus turn deadly when the game's creator,  Kayaba Akihiko makes it where the microwaves kill the user when they die in the game.  There is such a machine currently that is somewhat similar to the Nerve Gear, yet using magnetic waves, to change the state of the brain. It's called a TMS (Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation) Machine.  In short, it changes the magnetic field of the brain... and used to study the various paths of the brain's thoughts as well as supposedly help with a number of neurological disorders like the one the plagues me, migraines.

    It's a stretch to say that one day we will be playing the very pinnacle of video games shown by the anime series, SAO...yet, in my honest opinion, I feel one day we will have the ability to make games like this.  The popularity of the series will probably do what has often happened in science fiction... science fiction will open the venues to the creation of said devices.  I wouldn't put it past Japan to make a real life SAO game and Nerve Gear system.  If we continue to decode the brain, utilize quantum computing, and continue to innovate virtual reality and game control schemes, this can happen. 

    The series in addition to making you fall in love with Kirito and Asuna in their Cloud/Tifa-like relationship and struggles also brings out the moral questions such a game could bring to humanity...If you die in the game and in the real world, what would you do?  How would you react?  Would you jump to your death like many players did in the first few episodes when they thought there was no hope?  Would you fight on like Kirito, Asuna and the others?

    Would a company or game developer go as far as Kayaba Akihiko to test the "reality" of being stuck in the game?  Would we get corporate maniacs like Nobuyuki Sugō who'd want to control people's minds and instill thoughts? (the way suits almost ruined gaming in the 1980's I wouldn't put it past them to do that)

    What would a world having a 100% immersive video game universe be like?  Would players ever want to return to the real world and would the meaning of "real" become fuzzy?

    The story as played out in the anime has me as a game designer and dreamer of the future think of these questions and I'm certain anyone seeing the series now think so too.  I simply loved for once seeing a male lead in an anime actually take the lead and give no forgiveness to a terrible antagonist once he had him in the corner.  Anime needs more Kiritos and Simons and less Shinjis.  In addition to the prospect of the real future of gaming... it's why this series lead me to make this blog post.  I identify myself with Kirito and as a game developer, I also can peer into the mind of Kayaba Akihiko with some understanding to his thoughts.  Reki Kawahara's anime is one to behold...yes a little over rated at some time by some fans but if you haven't seen it yet, check it out.  Come 2022, maybe we can all play these kinds of video games....just of course, hopefully no life threatening consequences happen.

    As a little bonus, here's the awesome battle theme from the anime.  Now go watch it... the last episode just started simulcasting as I finished this post.

    Bonus content x2:

    Get this.  It's postulated that our world is actually a giant computer simulation. It can explain the number of  issues we have with the quantum world pairing up with the "macro" world...

    This post was just from just last maybe,... maybe we are already in a game ;-)

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  • 12/24/12--08:48: Merry Anime X-Mas 2012

  • Just wanted to wish everyone a Merry Christmas.  Personally, I only celebrate the secular reasons for the season; time with family (if I'm not at work -_-) and looking back at the past year with it's bitter sweet ending and hopes for a much better new year.

    2013 might very well be a really great year for us at CAS if a certain video game job offer I got pans through... won't know until next month but it's looking good if I keep studying what is needed to make good video games.  Much of the learning is of course coming from my Tenshi-Oni game which I plan to have released next year as well :-)

    Whether like me you are an atheist or celebrate what ever you holiday,religious or nonreligious... try to be positive and have hope for the future.  Keep what ever differences you have on the side and just be kind.  If you are doing last minute kind to the workers missing time from their loved ones... they and those whom lost loved ones over this year, need reasons to cheer up and bad customers make their lives only worse.  So, let's all drop the attitude when we go out and just be accepting of others.

    Anyways, enjoy this pic I found of a cute anime girl who looks oddly like our mascot Fumi :3

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      For today's Fan Service Friday, thought I'd show off the work of the Pixiv Artist, 四々九.  It's a picture of Black Rock Shooter with the styling looking somewhat how huke draws her. One thing this artist has is the ability to create very tone-heavy, detailed images.  Check out their gallery for more.

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      It's the last day of 2012.  For today's Moe Monday post, check out this cute festival anime girl image.  Sadly, I'm not certain if this is a character from a series nor the artist but thought she'd be a fitting for celebrating the new year ^_^

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  • 12/31/12--09:14: Chuck makes Sushi ^_^


    For Christmas my fiancee and I finally got a rice cooker thanks to my sister, Liz.  It's the first time since we moved into our apartment that we've been able to cook some rice.  Back when we used to live at our parent's house, I would on occasion make sushi...well attempt to make it.  Took a few times but about 2 years ago I started to master making some maki rolls....and then since then I've been away from it.

    Well, now that we got the cooker, I've gotten back to the craft and... it turns out I'm getting good at making maki rolls.  So far, I've not made anything truly tough...Maki rolls, once understood how to cook and prepare, isn't that tough. Best to start with ingredients that aren't raw like sweet potato and pre-cooked tempura.

    Here's some images of my most recent concoctions.  Nothing too special... seen are the following maki rolls:

    • Sweet Potato roll
    • Shrimp tempura roll
    • avocado roll

    I'll aim at making more sushi a la cart and even more varied maki rolls like tuna, Philly roll, etc.

    They taste good and if, like me, you are a fan of all things Japan... making them for yourself is very rewarding (and tasty).

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    Another awesome gift we got for Christmas was the Game Capture HD.  Well, my fiancee Danielle and I wasted no time to start doing some Let's Plays/ Game Grumps-styled. Danielle created a separate youtube channel from her original Yuna415 for all of this... called PikaLove415.

    Check out our first two videos below:

    Pikalove415 Plays: Super Mario Bros. Wii (Bowser's Castle)

    Pikalove Plays: Kirby's Epic Yarn

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    A trend on YouTube that's been around a while for now are Let's Plays.  Some are very good (Yogscast, Game Grumps, Two Best Friends Play, etc).  Like AMVs, it's a common trend and done by most everybody.  Other really cool video channels (gaming related) are the reviews and parodies of the Normal Boots gang (Jontron, Continue?, The Completionist, and Peanut Butter Gamer) and old Newgrounds brethren like Egoraptor.

    Before Youtube, I used to be a big part of Newgrounds my amvs and Sephiroth vs Mogs parody) and our AMVs were some of the first AMVs to populate the site since we were hosting them long before the site existed. Same tired story of mine, I know.

    Well, thanks to the awesome videos by those guys and with even friends of mine like, thelordxl and Greg Nugent doing similar videos...I think it was about time I came out of my original content retirement and join the game video bandwagon.  In addition to teaching myself game design for both iOS (for Tenshi-Oni) and XNA (for a possible NYC game dev job).... I've also been hard at work, teaching myself Adobe After Effects and Premier Pro, reteaching myself Abobe learning the ins and outs of my new toy... the Elgato Game Capture HD.

    As seen in the prior post (of many today ^^;;)  Danielle and I have been making use of the capture card by doing some Game-Grump-like let's plays.  I also snuck in my own "QuickPlay" of Dishonored for the Playstation 3.  You can probably see, the post editing/rendering of Premier Pro is still giving me some bugs (the "jittering" and lack of HD when the original was VERY HD)

    It's ok for a first video but my goal is to edit these a bit better every time and in addition to these "Quick Plays"... I plan on doing Jontron-like gaming reviews/parodies and yes, even back to good old Flash parodies.  This is in addition to the Tenshi-Oni game...I didn't forget about that of course ^_^

    Also check out my new Twitch.TV account.  At night after a long day of anime figure shipments and more...I'll do some live gaming feeds and we can all just hang out with hopefully some cool game streaming. (more on that in future pots)

    Without further's my first "QuickPlay".  Do mind though... Dishonored is a bloody, violent game, so viewer discretion is advised.

    By the way... make sure to subscribe/follow all of those awesome gaming people I mentioned above if you haven't already.  My goal isn't to copy these awesome gamers but to hopefully be worthy of being part of their group....granted, at 29, I'd be probably the oldest gamer in the group if I ever join say PBG's Hardcore GamePlay group.  (would love to take part in those ^^)

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      For this week's Fan Service Friday post... here's an amazing anime sword girl illustration.  Actually, she seems to look like a mix between Milla Maxwell and Asuna.  Not certain of the artist for this sadly...but if you know...maybe post in the comments below.

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  • 01/11/13--09:48: #Fanservice Friday 1/11/2013

  • For today's #FanserviceFriday post... here's an elegant wedding anime girl image.  Not certain of the artist ^^;;... I think this might actually be Tokugawa Sen from Hyakka Ryoran Samurai Girls...she at least looks like her.

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    Danielle and I have begun doing some original gaming videos thanks to my x-mas present...the Elgato Game Capture HD.  We are continuing to add content to her gaming account, PikaLove415.   Today's featured gameplay is our first video of us playing through of Final Fantasy VII.  Well, Danielle's playing it...I'm just there in the background ^^;)  As stated in the last post about this, we got inspired by Gamegrumps and others to do these kinds of videos.

    This video is special though, not just because it's the beginning of us playing through the game sorta responsible for this site, but because this is the first video I'm testing out my new video editing skills.  Hope you all like it. I plan on putting up more videos on my own Youtube page... including a return to Flash animations and more..but if you can, do subscribe to PikaLove415. Oh and we've been posting our Kirby's Epic Yarn playthrough almost daily too.  There's lots of videos for me to go through and more to come ^_^

    List of links:

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  • 01/13/13--21:30: #MoeMonday 1/14/2013

  • I simply love cute anime angel girl images and today's #MoeMonday post is proof of that ^_^

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    Tifa Lockhart is by far my top anime/game girl.  I was completely in awe last week when I first saw this stunning image of FFVII's #1 fighter.  All credit goes to Viet-My Bui

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    December 2003, I submitted a Flash animation called Sephiroth vs. Mogs to was the latest from a list of flash submissions I did at the time.  Most of the submissions were Flash ports of our popular pre-youtube AMVs...but they caught fire on NG and until middle of last year...all but Sephiroth vs. Mogs (and a crappy first flash submission) got erased.  Sadly, due to my involvement in a marketing company in 2004...a long hiatus began that some of you might have remembered.  I never got to create the next episode of that animation...leaving many wondering what the hell happened.

    Well, thanks to my urge to get back to this after almost 10 years, programming  my game (still in production -_-) Tenshi-Oni and some inspiration from people like flash artist, Egoraptor and video game reviewer JonTron.... I'm back into Flash animation!  This time around, I'm even better at animating (been on a crash course the past few days).  To start off, Danielle and I are working together where she creates the drawings and I simply animated/edited around them.  Nothing too elaborate...but tedious at the same time. 

    So, for my first animation back...we created a Game Grumps animated clip ^^

    Here's the video on youtube:

    (pardon those who've seen me FB, tweet, reddit, etc this all of yesterday ^^;;)

    Check it out on Newgrounds here and please vote for it if you can.

    As I speak, we have another animation already scheduled for airing on Youtube and for the future, I have plans on making more of my own parodies... like the long delayed episode 2 of Sephiroth vs. Mogs, my Farkly's series (based on my terrible past job at Friendly's Ice Cream), Tenshi-Oni shorts (maybe) and what ever crazy-ass thing comes to mind.

    Oh and be sure to visit the Game Grumps.

    (Feels good to be a Flash animator again ^_^)

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    Here's our second new original animation.  It's a quick cartoon with audio taken from our PikaLove Plays series of Let's Play videos.  Danielle (dressed as Tifa) isn't so great with Roman numerals and tries to tell me that VII means 8.

    Here's the video on youtube...nothing yet for Newgrounds but it should be there any day as well:

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    Not certain of the artist/character/series for this one but I don't think anyone would mind the beauty of today's Fanservice Friday pic.

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